Ancient water well
Ancient water well
 
 
View of Chichen Itza from an air plane
View of Chichen Itza from an air plane
 
 
El Castillo
El Castillo
 
 
Shadow of a snake
Shadow of a snake
 
 
The Great Ball Court
The Great Ball Court
 
 
Scoring ring in the Great Ball Court
Scoring ring in the Great Ball Court
 
 
The observatory of Chichen Itza
The observatory of Chichen Itza
 
Chichen Itza
Topic(s):   Landmarks, Wonders of the World
Quick Facts
Location Chichen Itza
Country Mexico
Year(s) built 600 A.D.
Designed by the Mayans
Purpose trade center, fresh water wells

Chichen Itza is in a dry area of southeast Mexico. The city was built there beginning in 600 A.D. because it had deep natural wells of fresh water. Many different peoples left their mark on this city. But it is best known as a Mayan ruin.

Mayan priests studied math and the sun, moon, and stars. They had a very precise calendar. They were skilled builders. Carvings of gods, rulers, animals, and battle scenes decorate the building fronts at Chichen Itza. All the buildings were carefully aligned to the positions of the sun, moon, and stars.

Mayans were very religious. They had more than 160 gods. The rain god, Chac, was very important. The Mayans were farmers. Their lives relied upon the success of their crops.

The city of Chichen Itza is about four square miles in size. El Castillo is one of its most famous structures. It is a four-sided pyramid with a flat top. Each side has 91 steps. With the step on the top platform, the total is 365. That is the number of days in the solar calendar. On the first days of spring and fall, light and shadow form a snake on El Castillo’s stairs.

The Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza is very large. The ball game was sacred to the Mayans. Teams played for hours. To score, they had to get a small ball through high rings. Players’ hands could not touch the ball. They wore protective clothing and hit the ball with different parts of their bodies.

Chichen Itza is the most famous and most visited Mayan ruin.

Resource information

Baquedano, Elizabeth. Aztec, Inca and Maya. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 1993.

Chichen Itza. Comptons by Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2010. Web. 21 February 2010. http://schooleb.com/comptons/article-9319491.

Sheets, Payson. Chichen Itza. World Book Advanced. World Book, 2010. Web. 21 February 2010.

Citation information

APA Style:        Chichen Itza. (2013, August). Retrieved from Facts4Me at http://www.facts4me.com

MLA Style:       "Chichen Itza." Facts4Me. Aug. 2013. http://www.facts4me.com.

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